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TN Congressional Delegation Responses to Obama Budget Proposal

On Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama submitted a nearly $4 trillion budget to Congress, calling for an end to the across-the-board cuts in federal spending brought about by the sequestration agreed to by Congress in 2011.

Instead, Obama suggested a 7 percent budget increase over the agreed-upon sequester levels for domestic and defense spending.

“I’m not going to accept a budget that locks in sequestration going forward. It would be bad for our security and bad for our growth,” Obama said in a speech at the Department of Homeland Security offices Monday.

The U.S. national debt exceeded $18 trillion for the first time in mid-December 2014, just about 14 months after it exceeded $17 trillion in mid-October 2013.

Republican members of Congress have indicated the budget proposal is “dead on arrival.”

Responses from Tennessee’s congressional delegation to the president’s proposed budget follow:

Press release from U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn; February 2, 2015:

WASHINGTON, Feb. 2, 2015 – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today released the following statement on President Obama’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2016:

“We need to address Washington’s spending problem and fix the federal government’s $18 trillion debt, and the way to do it is by reducing the growth of out-of-control entitlement spending. I plan to work with our Republican majority – and, I hope, the president – to make tough choices so we can pass a real plan to fix the debt while supporting other priorities like national defense and national labs and medical research.”

Alexander noted that mandatory spending – which includes out-of-control entitlement spending that is driving the growth in the federal debt – makes up about 60 percent of overall federal spending each year. Discretionary spending – the part of the budget that is already subject to spending caps under the Budget Control Act of 2011 and the Bipartisan Budget Act – makes up about 34 percent of federal spending each year and funds national defense, national labs, national parks and other federal priorities.

Press release from U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn.; February 2, 2015:

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), a member of the Senate Budget Committee, released the following statement today regarding President Barack Obama’s fiscal year 2016 budget proposal.

“Our inability to get our nation’s fiscal house in order continues to be one of the most critical national security threats our country faces. The president’s budget makes little effort to solve that problem and is not a serious proposal,” said Corker. “The spending limits put in place in 2011 have generated the only real fiscal progress our nation has made in decades, yet the president wants to not only break the promise we all made to the American people, but also revert back to the bad habits that created our massive deficits in the first place. I hope Congress will show courage and finally address the largest drivers of our deficits so we can generate economic growth and create more opportunities for Tennesseans.”

Corker, also a member of the Senate Banking Committee, commented on the president’s renewed commitment to work with Congress to pass comprehensive housing finance reform.

“On the other hand, I am pleased the administration has renewed its commitment to working with Congress to pass comprehensive legislation to wind down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac,” said Corker. “The biggest issue this year for the Senate Banking Committee, and the last major unfinished business from the 2008 financial crisis, is finally addressing this tremendous taxpayer liability and ending the failed model of private gains and public losses.”

The president’s budget says bipartisan housing finance legislation passed last year by the Senate Banking Committee was a “meaningful step” in the right direction. The bill, the Housing Finance Reform and Taxpayer Protection Act of 2014 (S.1217), passed the committee in May 2014 by a vote of 13 to 9 and was first introduced by Corker and Senator Mark Warner (D-Va.) in June 2013.

Press release from U.S. Rep. John Duncan, Jr., R-Tenn. 02; February 2, 2015:

WASHINGTON – Congressman John J. Duncan, Jr. released the following statement Monday in response to President Obama’s 2016 budget:

This budget would result in a nearly half-trillion dollar deficit next year alone, and our deficits and interest payments on the National debt would continue to go way up every year.

The most wasteful, least efficient way to spend money is to turn it over to the federal government.  The best way to create more good jobs and keep the cost-of-living low is to decrease federal spending and leave more money in the hands of American families.

I strongly support tax cuts for the middle class.  The president claims he is trying to help the middle class, but during his years in office, the gap between the wealthy and the middle class has grown faster than ever, primarily because of big government policies that help only big federal contractors and the federal bureaucracy.

Like all presidential budgets, it will undergo significant changes.

Press release from U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischman, R-Tenn. 03; February 2, 2015:

WASHINGTON− Rep. Chuck Fleischmann released the following statement in response to President Obama’s proposed budget for FY2016.

“Much like in his State of the Union speech, the President has taken an opportunity to work with Congress and turned it into a partisan game. This budget would increase spending by $2.4 trillion, never balances and simply isn’t a real option. As Tennessee’s sole House Appropriator, I will use my oversight responsibility to comb through the President’s request and ultimately make sure taxpayer dollars are spent wisely and responsibly.”

Press release from U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Tenn. 05; February 2, 2015:

Nashville’s federal courthouse is Judiciary’s top priority

NASHVILLE – U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (TN-05) announced today that President Barack Obama’s newly released budget for FY 2016 includes funding for construction of a new federal courthouse building in Nashville.

“Nashville is #1 in the nation on the list of priorities for courthouse construction. This announcement is a critical next step in getting the courthouse built, but we’re not done yet,” Cooper said. “We still need Congress to appropriate the funds, and I hope that happens this year.”

Nashville has been waiting for a new courthouse since 1992, when the Estes Kefauver Federal Courthouse was first deemed “inadequate.”

In 2002, the federal government selected the downtown property on Church Street as the site of the new building and purchased the parcels making up the site from 2002-2005. Since then, further studies and an economic downturn have delayed construction on any new federal courthouse. Neither the President’s budget nor Congressional appropriations has included funding for courthouses in four of the last five years, with the exception of the Mobile, Ala., courthouse in FY 2014.

Federal courthouse funding is supposed to follow the Judicial Conference’s five-year plan that contains a priority list of proposed courthouses ranked by need. But for many years, the Judicial Conference’s priorities were routinely ignored in favor of political favoritism and earmarks, a process Cooper opposes.

Cooper has pushed for a transparent, fair funding process and has led bipartisan efforts to award projects based on priority, not politics. Cooper was a founding member of the Congressional Courthouse Caucus, which was formed to address the urgent need for functional, secure courthouses around the country. Cooper has written to President Obama and Members of the House Appropriations Committee several times asking them to prioritize courthouse funding. Cooper has also met with the General Services Administration regarding the public safety hazard that sits atop the site designated for Nashville’s new courthouse, urging its immediate demolition.

Press release from U.S. Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn. 06; February 2, 2015:

Washington, D.C. – Today Congressman Diane Black (R-TN-06), member of the House Budget Committee, released the following statement on President Obama’s proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2016:

“I had hoped to congratulate President Obama on finally delivering a budget to Congress by the legal deadline for the first time in five years, but this proposal isn’t really a budget at all – it is a messaging piece. This so-called budget ignores both the reality of our already crippling $18 trillion national debt and of a new Republican majority in Washington that will not allow this laughable tax-and-spend proposal to pass.” said Congressman Diane Black.

Congressman Black added, “The President promised in his State of the Union address to present ‘a budget filled with ideas that are practical, not partisan.’ Sadly, he has done just the opposite. This budget is not practical, it is political. By adding nearly $8.5 trillion to our debt over the budget window, the President’s plan prioritizes the next election over the next generation – which would be forced to foot the bill for his costly agenda. This budget does nothing to address the strain of our mandatory spending programs and never achieves balance. I look forward to working with my Republican colleagues on the House Budget Committee to craft a responsible, timely budget that offers a substantive alternative to the President’s reckless proposal.”

Additional information:

  • The President’s budget calls for $2.1 trillion in new tax increases, on top of $1.7 trillion in tax hikes already imposed by the AdministrationThis budget would grow total federal spending by $259 billion next year alone
  • Under this plan, interest on our debt would rise to $785 billion by 2025
  • The President’s budget increases annually-appropriated spending for next year by $74 billion over current law
  • Under the President’s budget, gross debt would climb to $26.3 trillion in 2025

(Source: House Budget Committee)

Press release from U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.07; February 2, 2015:

Congressman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), who is a member of the House Budget Committee, issued the following statement regarding President Obama’s proposed Budget for Fiscal Year 2016.

“President Obama has declared that the time for ‘mindless austerity’ is over, but there is nothing ‘mindless’ about creating a responsible budget and spending within one’s means. The President’s $4 trillion budget proposal will increase taxes and add to our $18 trillion national debt. At a time when our economy is still trying to get back on track, it isn’t prudent to raise taxes and stifle small business as a way of paying for wasteful government spending.

“The President’s budget is simply out of sync with the concerns of the American people – even 55% of Democrats believe that reducing the federal deficit is a ‘top priority.’ While I appreciate the President’s efforts to propose a budget on time, it would be more productive if he took our unprecedented level of national debt seriously. We need to stop spending money on failed policies from the past and instead craft a budget that will improve our country’s fiscal health and put more money back in the pockets of hard-working Americans.”

Press release from U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn. 09; February 2, 2015:

[WASHINGTON, DC] – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today issued the following statement regarding President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2016 budget proposal:

“President Obama’s budget is a positive vision for our nation’s future that will put us on a sustainable fiscal path. It will spur further economic growth by making critical investments to improve our roads and bridges—creating jobs in Memphis and around the country—and boost take-home pay for the middle-class while closing tax loopholes that allow the wealthiest one percent to avoid paying their fair share.”

“The President’s budget also gives middle-class families better access to higher education by making college more affordable and helps young adults climb out from under a mountain of student debt by capping monthly payments. And it will also help them find jobs by doing more to develop the high-paying, private-sector jobs that will keep our country competitive in the 21st century.”

“And by reversing mindless sequestration cuts, this budget proposal will reinvest in the National Institutes of Health, which is another U.S. department of defense that protects us from deadly diseases and illnesses—because Americans are far more likely to be stricken by Alzheimer’s, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, stroke, cancer, or Parkinson’s than by a terrorist attack. President Obama’s budget will help make our economy work for all Americans instead of just the wealthiest among us, and it is a step in the right direction.”

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Blackburn: Loretta Lynch Immigration Comments Show ‘a True Lack of Acceptance’ of Constitution, Law

Press release from U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn. 07; January 28, 2015:

Congressman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) issued the following statement in response to comments made today by President Barack Obama’s nominee for United States Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, at a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

When asked by Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) who she felt has more right to a job in this country — lawful immigrants and citizens or those who entered unlawfully, Lynch responded by saying she believes “that the right and obligation to work is one that’s shared by everyone in this country regardless of how they came here.”

“The comments of Loretta Lynch were disturbing and showed a true lack of acceptance of our constitution and the law. It is outrageous that President Obama’s nominee for Attorney General of the United States was unable to state with clarity that American citizens and legal immigrants have a greater right to work in this country than illegal aliens,” Blackburn said. “While Ms. Lynch may prefer that aliens unlawfully present in our country be willing to work, I prefer that we uphold the law. It is the responsibility of the Attorney General to administer justice in a manner that is fair and impartial. We should be prioritizing legal immigration and not incentivizing unlawful behavior.”

Blackburn recently penned an op-ed for Breitbart News entitled What About The American Worker? In the piece Blackburn discusses the impact of President Obama’s executive amnesty on the American worker and how lawful Americans are being betrayed by President Obama’s outsourcing of jobs to illegal aliens.

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Blackburn Introduces Bill to Allow Purchase of Health Insurance Across State Lines

Press release from U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn. 07; January 27, 2015:

Congressman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) today renewed her fight to repeal Obamacare and replace it with her proposal to allow consumers to shop for insurance across state lines. Blackburn introduced H.R. 543, the Health Care Choice Act of 2015, which would empower consumers by giving them the ability to purchase affordable health insurance coverage with a range of options. The bill has 14 original cosponsors.

“We all know that the consumer can make better choices for their health care than a Washington bureaucrat,” Blackburn said. “The Health Care Choice Act offers a common sense solution that will replace Washington mandates with interstate competition by allowing consumers to shop for health insurance just like they do for other insurance products – online, by mail, over the phone, or in consultation with an insurance agent in their hometown.

“Instead of requiring every health plan to carry so many mandates that it becomes unaffordable, the Health Care Choice Act frees insurance companies to compete for your business across state lines, offering better options for lower prices.”

Original cosponsors of the Health Care Choice Act of 2015 include: Rep. Diane Black (TN-06); Rep. Charles Boustany (LA-03); Rep. Scott DesJarlais(TN-04); Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (TN-03); Rep. Chris Gibson (NY-19); Rep. Brett Guthrie (KY-02); Rep. Gregg Harper (MS-03); Rep. Adam Kinzinger (IL-16); Rep. Leonard Lance (NJ-07); Rep. Billy Long (MO-07); Rep. Mia Love (UT-04); Rep. Tom McClintock (CA-04); Rep. Pete Olson (TX-22); and Rep. Phil Roe (TN-01).

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Black, Blackburn Speak in Favor of ‘No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act’

Press release from U.S. Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn. 06; January 22, 2015:

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Washington, D.C. – Today Congressman Diane Black (R-TN-06) spoke on the House floor to urge support for H.R. 7, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act. The legislation, which Congressman Black also cosponsored, would codify the Hyde amendment requiring that “No funds authorized or appropriated by Federal law . . . shall be expended for any abortion.” The bill additionally prohibits premium tax credits and cost-sharing subsidies under the Affordable Care Act from being used to purchase health plans that cover abortion.

Today’s vote follows a September 2014 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report which found that, under the President’s health care law, abortions are paid for with taxpayer funds on more than 1,000 exchange plans across the country. This is despite a 2009 pledge from President Obama that, “Under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions, and federal conscience laws will remain in place.”

The No Taxpayer Funding Abortion for Abortion Act passed the House by a vote of 242 to 179. A transcript of Rep. Black’s remarks on the House floor are below, or click here for a video.

Madam Speaker, today is a somber occasion. On this 42nd anniversary of the Supreme Court’s tragic decision in Roe v. Wade, our hearts ache for the 56 million unborn lives lost to the shameful practice of abortion. But today, there is also hope because we have an opportunity to make a difference by passing the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act.

This commonsense, compassionate legislation will protect Americans’ conscience rights by ensuring their hard-earned tax dollars are not used to fund the destruction of innocent life.

As a mother, a grandmother, and a nurse for more than 40 years, this measure is especially meaningful to me. During my years in the health care industry, I saw the joy in young parents’ eyes when they met their newborn child for the first time. I held the hands of grieving spouses and children as they said their final goodbyes to a loved one. And, sadly, I witnessed a young woman lose her life due to the effects of a botched abortion.

These experiences informed my view that all life is a precious gift from God and I pray that, in time, this truth will be reflected in our nation’s laws. But until then, can’t we at least do this much?

I urge a yes vote on the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act and I thank the sponsor for his work on this deeply important legislation. I yield back my time.

Press release from U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn. 07; January 22, 2015:

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Congressman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) today issued the following statement on House passage of H.R. 7, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act.

“On a day when people around the nation gather together in support of life, it is appropriate that the House has acted on an issue that 68 percent of Americans agree on – there should be no taxpayer dollars used to pay for abortions. We are pleased to take this important action on the day when we welcome so many of our constituents to Washington to join us in celebrating the March for Life. I am grateful for the leadership of Rep. Chris Smith who worked diligently to craft this legislation the right way.

“This bill is about protecting life and protecting taxpayer dollars. It also ensures that we have much needed transparency under the President’s health care law. It is imperative to do that because the President has promised on numerous occasions that there would be no taxpayer funds used for abortions. Yet we have learned from GAO that there are over 1,000 plans in the marketplace that allow taxpayer dollars to be used for abortions under Obamacare.

“Consumers should have the right to know whether the plan they are selecting on an exchange includes abortion coverage. While Obamacare included some notification provisions, many of our constituents are simply unable to find out whether a plan is paying for abortions. This legislation brings transparency to the plans and money flow so that hard-working taxpayers that don’t want their money used for abortion will have clarity and certainty on the issue.”

VIDEO: Blackburn Works in Support of Pro-Life Policies

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Blackburn: Obama ‘Tone-deaf’ in Push for FCC to Strike Down State Restrictions on Municipal Broadband

Press release from U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn. 07; January 14, 2015:

Congressman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) issued the following statement in response to President Obama’s push for broadband policies that trample on states’ rights.

“In Tennessee we have a term to describe people like President Obama — tone-deaf. At a time when Americans think the biggest problem facing our nation today is big government, you would think he’d have gotten the message by now. We don’t need unelected bureaucrats like FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler dictating to our states what they can and can’t do with respect to protecting their limited taxpayer dollars and private enterprises. As a former State Senator in Tennessee, I am offended that President Obama would repeatedly support policies that trample on states’ rights.

“This ‘Washington knows best’ mentality is exactly why Americans put Republicans in control of Congress last November — to stop people like Barack Obama and Tom Wheeler. I will continue to work with my colleagues in the House and Senate to block any attempt by the FCC to insert themselves into our states’ sovereign economic and fiscal affairs. These are decisions that should be left up to Congress with participation from the American people, not sent down on high from unaccountable federal bureaucrats looking down on us from their ivory tower.”

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TN Congressional Delegation Statements on Vote to Defund Obama Executive Action on Immigration

Press release from U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn. 01; January 14, 2015:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Phil Roe, M.D. (R-TN) released the following statement after voting to fund the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for the rest of the fiscal year. The bill specifically prohibits any funding from being used to carry out President Obama’s November 20 executive actions on immigration reform:

“I was proud to support this important bill which funds DHS operations for the rest of the fiscal year and blocks funding to implement the president’s executive amnesty. I hope the Senate moves swiftly to get legislation to the president’s desk.

“I am completely opposed to the president’s irresponsible and unconstitutional approach to immigration reform. It is extremely troubling and infuriating that we have a president who believes he can change laws without congressional approval, and it’s even more infuriating that the president himself is on record over a period of six years stating that he doesn’t have the authority to do what he is doing, at one point declaring, “I’m not a king.” We can’t accomplish anything meaningful if the president continues to try to ignore our laws and implement policies that haven’t been authorized by Congress. It’s up to the president. He can walk back his irresponsible governing tactics and work with Congress, or he can expect strong pushback from both chambers until the end of his presidency.”

Background:

This bill funds the Department of Homeland Security through September 30, 2015.

The legislation:

  • Prohibits funding to implement the President’s executive memos on immigration reform from November 20, 2014;
  • Ensures no illegal immigrant receives any federal benefit;
  • Stops the Administration from considering new, renewal or previously denied Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals applications, which is the president’s previously-announced policy allowing unaccompanied minors to stay in the country.

Press release from U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn. 03; January 14, 2015:

WASHINGTON− This morning, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 240, theDepartment of Homeland Security Appropriations Act. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, a member of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, released the following statement after the vote.

“Today, the House put an end to President Obama’s unconstitutional actions by passing legislation to completely defund the President’s executive amnesty. The President has declared twenty-two times that he does not have the authority to bypass the legal immigration system and grant executive amnesty; yet, he did just that. When I entered Congress, I made an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution, and therefore, it is my duty to stop the President’s unlawful actions. This legislation further prioritizes our national security by strengthening border security, increasing government transparency, and enhancing immigration enforcement. We must protect our nation and end this executive overreach.”

Press release from U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais, Re-Tenn. 04; January 14, 2015:

Congressman Scott DesJarlais, M.D. (TN-04) released the following statement after the House of Representatives passed HR 240, the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, which will fund DHS for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2015, while blocking President Obama’s unlawful executive amnesty:

“I was proud to join like-minded conservatives in the House in passing legislation to effectively stop President Obama’s dangerous and unlawful executive amnesty. For too long, the president has ignored the Constitution and violated our separation of powers. And he knows it. In fact, the president said on 22 separate occasions that the Constitution does not give him the authority to take unilateral action on immigration. Yet that is precisely what he did. Today, the House reasserts its power of the purse by cutting off funds for President Obama’s unconstitutional actions.”

Press release from U.S. Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn. 06; January 14, 2015:

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Diane Black (R-TN-06) spoke on the House floor to praise the House passage of the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act. The legislation fully funds the Department of Homeland Security through the remainder of the fiscal year while ensuring that no funding is made available for President Obama’s executive amnesty. The bill additionally includes provisions of Rep. Black’s Immigration Compliance Enforcement Act, legislation she previously passed through the House Judiciary Committee and reintroduced this year to defund the position of “public advocate” or any similar position at Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Below is a transcript of her remarks, or for a video click here.

Mister Speaker, last year I promised my constituents that in the new year we would bring the fight on illegal immigration and act to restore the separation of powers that was upended by President Obama’s lawless overreach – and I meant it.

That is why I proudly voted for the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act and the attached amendments.

This bill is simple – it fully funds DHS while ensuring that no dollars are made available for the President’s executive amnesty.

I’m especially pleased that this measure contained key provisions of my bill- the Immigration Compliance Enforcement Act – which will defund the Obama Administration’s “public advocate” to lobby on behalf of illegal immigrants.

Mister Speaker, we still have three co-equal branches of government. When the President oversteps his bounds, we are compelled to respond.

I yield back my time.

Background on President’s Executive Amnesty:
On November 20, 2014 President Obama announced a series of executive actions that would grant temporary legal status and work permits to some four million unlawful immigrants. TheDepartment of Homeland Security Appropriations Act as amended prevents any funds – whether they are appropriated funds or user fees collected by the agency – to be used to carry-out these executive actions. The legislation additionally freezes funding for the President’s Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which uses prosecutorial discretion to grant legal status to select undocumented immigrants.

Background on ICE Public Advocate:
On February 7, 2012, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced the appointment of a public advocate to handle complaints and questions about the administration’s immigration enforcement policies.  This position serves as a point of contact for illegal and criminal immigrants in deportation proceedings as well as illegal alien advocacy and community groups. On June 7, 2012 the House of Representatives passed an amendment authored by Rep. Black to withhold funding for this position. That language was subsequently inserted into the Consolidated and Continuing Appropriations Act of 2013 which was signed into law by President Obama in March 2013. (see Sec. 567 here)

Following the enactment of this measure, the Obama Administration rebranded the public advocate position as “Community Outreach,” allowing employees in this department to continue their activities as before. This prompted Rep. Black to introduce the Immigration Compliance Enforcement Act which would defund both positions at ICE or any other position “the functions of which are substantially the same.” This legislation passed the House Judiciary Committee in the 113th Congress and was re-introduced as H.R. 276 this year. Provisions of this bill are included in Section 551 of the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act which passed the House today. This section reads, “None of the funds made available in this Act may be used to provide funding for the position of Public Advocate, or a successor position, within U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.”

Press release from U. S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn. 07; January 14, 2015:

Congressman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) today continued her fight to stop President Obama’s lawless executive amnesty with House passage of her amendment to freeze the President’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Blackburn’s amendment was approved 218-209 as part of H.R. 240, the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act.

Blackburn’s amendment prohibits any Federal funding, fees, or resources from being used to consider or adjudicate any new, renewal, or previously denied application for any alien requesting consideration for deferred action.

“The American people have overwhelmingly rejected executive amnesty and spoke loud and clear last November when they sent Republicans to Congress to stop President Obama’s lawless actions, Blackburn said. “President Obama has circumvented Congress and unilaterally re-written immigration law from the oval office. I applaud the House for taking action today by approving my amendment to freeze the DACA program, which was unlawfully created by Executive Memo on June 15, 2012.

“Last year, I had the opportunity to visit an unaccompanied alien children (UAC) facility at Fort Sill and also traveled to the southern border where I was briefed by U.S. Border Patrol agents. These visits confirmed what we have known all along — DACA is the magnet drawing Central American children here. UAC’s believe they will receive amnesty, as those before them have.”

The Office of Refugee Resettlement released 53, 518 UACs to sponsors within the U.S. in FY2014.As result, there is a strong correlation between the President’s amnesty and the surge of UACs coming to the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol have also advised that at least 40% of UACs are abused on their journey here.

“President Obama is turning every state into a border state and every town into a border town, said Blackburn. “Unfortunately, his lawless amnesty has taken Democrats from the party of ‘YES WE CAN’ to the party of BECAUSE WE CAN.”

VIDEO: Blackburn Leads Fight to Stop Obama’s Lawless Amnesty

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Alexander Announces First Round of Democrat, Independent Supporters

Press release from the Campaign for Lamar Alexander for U.S. Senate; August 10, 2014:

First round of Democrats and Independents includes former Congressman John Tanner, seven former or current mayors, former UT football Coach Johnny Majors, an Olympic Gold Medalist and numerous civic and political leaders from across the state

NASHVILLE – The Alexander for Senate campaign today announced the first round of “Tennesseans for Alexander,” a list of Democrats and Independents statewide who are supporting Lamar Alexander’s re-election to the U.S. Senate this fall.

“Every time I’ve run for office I’ve done my best to earn the support of Democrats and Independents as well as Republicans, because it is my job to represent all Tennesseans once I am elected,” Alexander said. “My goal is to get results, and that means working with people who know how to help solve problems for Tennessee and for our country.”

During his 2008 re-election campaign, Alexander announced two rounds of “Tennesseans for Alexander,” totaling more than 50 members. This year’s first round includes 30 members.

Former Congressman John Tanner, a Democrat who represented the 8th Congressional District from 1989 to 2011 and was in the Tennessee General Assembly from 1976 to 1988, joined the group this year. Tanner said he is supporting Alexander after years of working together on roads, the Northwest Tennessee Regional Port Authority and other issues.

“There are times in this business when friendships and loyalties should be more important than politics, and this is one of those times,” Tanner said. “Lamar Alexander has always been a friend and loyal to my old district, helping us do everything we needed to do to be successful and bring jobs to rural West Tennessee.”

This year’s list is geographically balanced across East, Middle and West Tennessee and also includes seven current or former mayors, an Olympic gold medalist, former University of Tennessee Coach Johnny Majors and numerous civic and political leaders. The list includes:

East Tennessee

  • Oak Ridge Mayor Tom Beehan
  • Etta Clark, Eastman executive from Kingsport
  • Jim Hall of Chattanooga, aide to former Gov. Ned McWherter and chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board during the Clinton administration
  • Jack Fishman, Morristown-based business man, civic leader and newspaper publisher
  • Former University of Tennessee President Joe Johnson
  • Former Chattanooga Mayor Jon Kinsey
  • Johnny Majors, former University of Tennessee football coach
  • Former State Senator Carl Moore of Bristol
  • Former Knox County Mayor Tommy Schumpert

Middle Tennessee

  • Steve Bogard, Nashville songwriter
  • Dave Cooley, deputy and chief of staff to former Gov. Phil Bredesen
  • Aubrey Harwell, prominent Nashville attorney
  • State Senator Doug Henry, longest-serving member of the Tennessee General Assembly
  • Patsy Mathews, political activist and widow of former U.S. Senator Harlan Mathews
  • Linda Peak Schacht, Nashville university professor and former aide to President Jimmy Carter and former Senate Majority Leader Robert Byrd
  • James Pratt, former staffer to former U.S. Senator Jim Sasser
  • Former Nashville Mayor Bill Purcell
  • Fate Thomas, Jr. of Nashville, who recently resurrected the Sure Shot Rabbit Hunter’s Supper, a gathering for Middle Tennessee politicians founded by his father, the late Sheriff Fate Thomas
  • Anna Windrow, Nashville business woman, former aide to former Lt. Gov. Frank Gorrell, former Senator Jim Sasser and former Gov. Phil Bredesen
  • Emily Wiseman, former executive director of the Tennessee Commission on Aging

West Tennessee

  • Laura Adams, executive director of Shelby Farms Park
  • Former State Supreme Court Judge George Brown, the first African American to serve on the court, appointed by then-Gov. Alexander
  • Brenda Duckett, Memphis business woman and community education activist
  • Jackson Mayor Jerry Gist
  • Bishop William Graves of Memphis, former senior bishop of Christian Methodist Episcopal Church and former member of the Tennessee Valley Authority board
  • Former Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton
  • Cato Johnson, Memphis hospital executive
  • Former Shelby County Mayor Bill Morris
  • Rochelle Stevens, Memphis business woman and Olympic gold medalist
  • Former Congressman John Tanner

The Alexander campaign is chaired by Congressman Jimmy Duncan, with co-chairmen Governor Bill Haslam, U.S. Senator Bob Corker, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, Speaker Beth Harwell, as well as Congressmen Blackburn, Roe, Black, Fincher, and Fleischmann.

The campaign’s Honorary Co-Chairmen include former U.S. Senators Howard Baker (1925-2014), Bill Brock, Bill Frist and Fred Thompson, as well as former Governors Winfield Dunn and Don Sundquist.
Serving as Honorary Co-Chairs of the Statewide Committee to Elect Lamar Alexander are all 13 living former state Republican Party chairs.

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Press Releases

Carr: Alexander at Odds with TN GOP Congressional Delegation on “Amnesty”

Press release from the Campaign for Joe Carr for U.S. Senate; August 4, 2014:

NASHVILLE, TN – In a shocking attack on the Tennessee Congressional Delegation, Senator Lamar Alexander accused opponents of Barack Obama’s amnesty that was written by Sen. Chuck Schumer, endorsed by Nancy Pelosi and backed by La Raza and the Chamber of Commerce (S. 744), of being “for amnesty.” The Chattanooga Times Free Press reported over the weekend that at a campaign stop in Cleveland, TN on Saturday, Alexander declared, “In 2013, I voted to end amnesty for 11 million Americans who are illegally here…I voted to double border security and I voted to create a legal immigration system. If you are opposed to that, then you’re for amnesty.”

“Reps. Blackburn, Black, Duncan, Roe, DesJarlais and Fleischmann have all called S. 744 ‘amnesty’ – is Lamar Alexander really accusing the Tennessee Congressional delegation of being ‘for amnesty’,” asked TN State Rep. and U.S. Senate candidate Joe Carr. “You have to wonder what Reps. Blackburn, Black, Duncan, Roe, DesJarlais and Fleischmann would have to say if they were asked about Lamar Alexander’s belief that supporters of S. 744 ‘voted to end amnesty’ and the rest of us who opposed it are ‘for amnesty.'”

“The Senate amnesty bill is dead on arrival in the House of Representatives,” Rep. Blackburn declared at the time. “I do not believe in amnesty and if we are going to make any changes to our system we must start by securing our borders. Any other reform effort is meaningless if we don’t start with strengthening our border security.”

Rep. Black decisively said, “There is no place for amnesty in immigration reform, period…In Congress, I was proud to be a vocal opponent of S. 744, the flawed Senate immigration bill that would have granted almost immediate legal status to millions of illegal immigrants.”

“I’m not going to vote for a bill that looks to me like it’s very similar to the [1986 amnesty] bill,” Rep. Duncan said about the S. 744. “I don’t know that Ronald Reagan would do the same thing if he was facing a problem that had become four or five times worse than it was in 1986.”

“The United States has always had a generous legal immigration policy, but we simply cannot grant amnesty to those who choose to break the law,” Rep. DesJarlais said in a statement about S. 744. “The Senate immigration proposal is the ObamaCare of immigration: A broad, comprehensive bill fraught with unintended consequences and unexpected results. I will fight to make sure this bill never reaches the floor of the United States House of Representatives. Providing a pathway to citizenship before securing the border is putting the cart before the horse. Before overhauling our nation’s immigration system, we should first ensure we are enforcing the laws that are already on the books.”

Rep. Flesichmann added, “An estimated 15 to 20 million illegal immigrants currently reside in the United States. I do not support rewarding these illegal immigrants with amnesty. In 1986, when legislation was passed granting general amnesty, the illegal immigrant population quadrupled.”

“I am opposed to the Senate bill because it includes a pathway to citizenship without sufficient protections to ensure our laws won’t be broken in the future,” Rep. Roe said last year. “Congress must take a transparent, incremental approach to dealing with this important issue instead of rushing through a seriously flawed piece of legislation.”

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Press Releases

TN Federal Lawmakers Release Statements on Obama’s Proposed ACA Solution

Press release from the Office of U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander; November 14, 2013:

WASHINGTON, Nov. 14 – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), the senior Republican on the Senate health committee, today released the following statement on the president’s speech announcing a proposal to fix the Obamacare provision leading to millions of canceled health care plans:

“The 5 million Americans – including 82,000 Tennesseans – losing their health care plans know that, after too many broken promises from this administration, the details matter. The president should send his proposal to Congress to consider and give Americans the certainty of law over rhetoric.”

Press release from the Office of U.S. Sen. Bob Corker; November 14, 2013:

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Corker, R-Tenn., released the following statement today in reaction to President Obama announcing administrative changes to his health care law.

“I’m glad President Obama is attempting to make good on a promise he made repeatedly to the American people, but it only offers temporary relief. Those who have received cancellation notices will likely receive them again a year from now,” said Corker. “So while this administrative action will provide some needed, temporary relief to a number of Americans, the fundamental problems with Obamacare go far beyond a broken website and cancellation notices. Because of the way the law is constructed, this fix may even cause other problematic consequences.”

In an interview on WKIM Newstalk 98.9’s “Talk Memphis” radio show prior to the president’s announcement, Corker discussed a number of problems Tennesseans are facing due to Obamacare.

“Tennesseans and Americans all across this country [are under] tremendous emotional distress as their policies have been canceled. They cannot get on the exchange to buy a new one, but even when they do, in many cases, they are realizing the cost of what they are having to purchase is far more than they ever anticipated,” said Corker.

  • Losing coverage: Millions of Americans who buy their own health insurance are being informed that their policies will no longer be offered because they do not meet Obamacare standards.
  • Enrollment obstacles: Yesterday, Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, announced that only 106,185 people have signed up or selected health care plans through Obamacare as of November 2, 2013, with only 922 in the state of Tennessee.
  • Unappealing products: Less than 10% of people who were able to access the federal exchange have actually selected a plan, raising questions about whether or not the actual products offered are acceptable to those seeking a new plan.
  • Increased costs: According to a recent Manhattan Institute study, individuals in Tennessee will, on average, see the following premium increases in the exchanges:

Age 27    Women: 19% increase    Men: 69% increase
Age 40    Women: 6% increase    Men: 39% increase
Age 64    Women: 36% increase    Men: 28% increase

Press release from the office of U.S. Rep. Diane Black; November 14, 2013:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Diane Black (R-TN-06) issued the following statement in response to the President’s announcement regarding the millions of Americans losing their health care because of Obamacare:

“President Obama has zero credibility when it comes to protecting Americans’ existing health care plans. Even though the White House knew back in 2010 that Obamacare would result in millions of Americans having their insurance policies cancelled, the President spent years falsely promising the American people that this would not be the case. Sadly, the President’s sudden change of heart appears to be the result of sagging poll numbers and shifting political winds. The American public knows better than to trust this President to unilaterally fix the mess he has created, and today’s announcement should be taken with a strong grain of salt.”

11/14/13 VIDEO: Black Takes to House Floor to Address Constituent’s Dropped Coverage

Press release from the office of U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn; November 14, 2013:

Congressman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) issued the following statement regarding President Barack Obama’s announcement today regarding the cancellation notices millions of Americans are receiving as a result of Obamacare.

“We are a nation of laws that requires our elected leaders and citizens to abide by the rule of law. It is of concern to my constituents that we have an administration that repeatedly seeks to change or circumvent the law by executive order. After misleading the American people for four years, it is extremely difficult for anyone to take President Obama at his word. That is why I support Chairman Upton’s Keep Your Health Plan Act that will begin to provide peace of mind to some Americans who want to keep their health care plan. I have worked tirelessly to help craft common sense policies like the American Health Care Reform Act to ensure all Americans have access to affordable care. If the President is willing to work with Congress on real solutions to fix a health care law that even he now admits is plagued with failures, that is a discussion we’d be willing to have.”

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Press Releases

Herron Calls on GOP Lawmakers to Stop Their Own Pay During Shutdown

Press release from the Tennessee Democratic Party; October 1, 2013:

NASHVILLE, Tenn — Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Roy Herron today called on Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, Congressmen Stephen Fincher and Scott DesJarlais and other Republicans who shut down government to stop paying themselves.

“Congressional Republicans are cutting off the pay of almost a million U.S. workers, but continue to pay the least productive, most wasteful, least efficient and highly paid federal employees — themselves,” Herron said. “Because Congressional Republicans refuse to do their work, federal workers cannot do our work.”

On Monday, CNN host Ashleigh Banfield confronted U.S. Rep. Blackburn and another Republican Congressman, asking if they would forgo their $174,000 salary while other federal employees are being denied pay because of the government shutdown. Blackburn refused to answer and still has not answered.

Blackburn’s comment comes on the heels of her Tennessee Republican colleague U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher’s controversial quoting of the Bible when arguing against food stamps.

Herron said, “Why should the politicians pay themselves for refusing to take care of business while denying others’ paychecks for taking care of the people’s business? Congresswoman Blackburn has so far refused to say whether she will stop her pay, but Congressman Fincher has quoted 2 Thessalonians 3:10 and told her what she and he should do: ‘Anyone unwilling to work should not eat.'”

BACKGROUND:

CNN Host Asks GOP Representatives Whether They’d Give Up Their Salary During A Shutdown, Hilarity Ensues

ThinkProgress // Annie-Rose Strasser and Adam Peck // September 30, 2013 at 11:48 am

On Monday, CNN host Ashleigh Banfield confronted two Republican representatives – Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) – to see whether they themselves would be willing to forgo a paycheck in the event of a government shutdown, something nearly every other federal employee would be forced to do.

“So you are both paid $174,000 a year, and that is the salary,” she said, “Would you be prepared to add some rider or amendment on to a continuing resolution that would take you out of the essential services category and stop payment on your paychecks in order to get a continuing resolution through, and yes or no?”

There was a long pause before the two tried to pivot to a different topic. Eventually, Rohrabacher stepped in to say that members of Congress were treated the same as other federal employees:

BLACKBURN: We are waiting to see what they send back, and I hope that as you were running the countdown clock that you are I have two grandsons, and their share of the national debt is now over $53,000 each.

BANFIELD: No no no. I’m sorry. I asked a specific question, and there are a lot of the government workers going to stop receiving their paychecks, and a there are a lot of the military service members who are serving overseas who might be stopped being paid and veterans whose benefits will be affected. Would you –

ROHRABACHER: Let me answer that. Members of Congress should not be treated any differently than any other federal employee.

BANFIELD: Is that a yes?

ROHRABACHER: Whatever happens to us when it comes to what we get in benefits and whether it is retirement or health care and whatever happens to the average federal employee should happen to us, and that rule should not be changed.
If the government shuts down on Tuesday, all government employees who are considered “non-essential personnel” will be told to stop coming to work and, for the period they’re not working, they won’t be getting paid. Those federal employees also wouldn’t get back payment when the government resumed its work, unless Congress explicitly approved a bill saying they would. Members of Congress are considered “essential.”